Johannesburg – Former finance minister Pravin Gordhan and his deputy Mcebisi Jonas may not be leading Treasury any more, but their bromance has outlived the trials and tribulations preceding the late night Cabinet reshuffle in March.
Speaking at a lecture on state capture at the University of Johannesburg on Wednesday afternoon, Gordhan commended Jonas for turning down a R600m bribe from the Guptas.
“How many of you would accept R600m as a bribe from the Guptas?” Gordhan asked.
“Here we have a person right in front of you who was offered a R600m bribe and said ‘keep it’.”
“He said ‘keep it’ because he was not prepared to sell out the sovereignty of our country.”
Gordhan said South Africans have to consider which side they would be standing on in the face of the crisis the country is facing.
“Are you on the side of creating an honest South Africa, where we are not described as a nation of a corrupt people but a nation proudly standing behind the principles of the Mandelas, Sisulus and Tambos?”
In turn, Jonas echoed these sentiments in his address, saying that South Africa is increasingly becoming a capital of corruption and state capture.
He said the country is in a leadership crisis. “South Africa requires strong, visionary leadership.”
Following the lecture, a crowd of students stormed the stage to take selfies with Gordhan and ask him questions. He and “his colleague”, as he still refers to Jonas, were temporarily separated.
But later, as Gordhan was being ushered out of the venue, he enquired where Jonas was. Someone pointed out that Jonas was standing just ahead of him, speaking to another journalist.
The two of them now reunited, they walked to their cars with a trail of students behind them, still answering their remaining questions.
South Africa’s Obama and Biden live on.
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